The Method in Chess
by Iossif Dorfman

In 1993, GM lossif Dorfman was asked whether he would train a 10 year-old French boy, Etienne, whose ELO was already 1930. Both the child’s father and his previous trainer, GM Eric Prié, knew that Etienne was gifted yet often ill at ease when facing new positions.

lossif studied Etienne’s games in depth, compiling sound statistics on his errors, from which he determined that Etienne lacked the feeling for refutation and that he did not know how to react to changes in pawn structure or to continuations involving exchanges or how to handle delicate transition from one phase of the game to the next (from opening to middle game, from middle game to ending).

lossif had to compile simple yet universally applicable rules which would help his young pupil in every situation. On the basis of his experience in training some very strong players, notably Kasparov, lossif designed tools to highlight critical positions and reveal those moments when the situation can be changed advantageously. These rules became the basis of his method.

Once Etienne’s began to implement this method his progress was astonishing, His opponents were disconcerted by a level of mastery and feeling for strategy, unequalled in a child of his age. Quite naturally, within a few years, he became the youngest Intemational Grand Master in the history of the game. As you will have recognized, the pupil was none other than the now well-known Etienne Bacrot.

Today, lossif Dorfman still uses his knowledge to help several gifted youngsters. The method is transparent. It can be understood and applied by any player and, because of its great efficiency, it has become a keystone in the edifice of modern strategic thought.

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